Sam Maher on HandPan - Terra in the Tunnels

If it feels like "Sam Maher Month" here at HPM, with this being the third near-consecutive post featuring him thus far. As far as we’re concerned - he’s earned it.  Because while the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats” perhaps sounds a little opportunistic - traffic to this site has tripled over the last week or so, as a result of a recent video of Sam's shared over at Facebook having blown-up in a big way - racking up over five million views in just two weeks.  And spreading rapidly.  With over 150,000 shares. And over 50,000 likes (and counting). Spreading further still via platforms like Twitter. Introducing an army of new admirers to the sounds of UFO-shaped singing-steel.

And while we’ve probably all stumbled across YouTube videos with few views that were awesome, that we felt were deserving of more attention.  In the instance of Sam Maher’s ‘New York Handpan 01’ (featured below), it’s clear that “the people” have chosen wisely.  With it being one of the finest Handpan performances that a person could ever hope to witness.

Over at Sam’s Facebook page it suggests that he’s from Perth, Western Australia.  Though it’s possible that that is just where he finds himself currently.  A few years back we followed his travels around South America (with his Handpan) via his Facebook posts. And in addition to insane Handpan talents, Sam Maher is also a truly-inspirational travel-writer/blogger.  And while we’d certainly encourage you to visit his Facebook page and skip back through his older posts if you’d like to grab a read of that - this podcast episode featuring Sam Maher over at MissionControl also makes for a very enjoyable listen.  In which he also discusses the New York City busking-scene - as featured in the video in question…

What you don't hear in the video over at Facebook, that you do hear in the YouTube version above, is the ending.  In which both Sam, and the guy from BUSKRS exclaim, "That's the one!".  And you find yourself nodding firmly in agreement.  We haven't heard it thrown around much in recent times, but in the earlier days of the Hang, the sound of the instrument was often described as being like a "Chorus of Angels", which we believe originated with Hang-maker, Felix Rohner, himself.  And listening to Sam play, it is especially easy to imagine a Choir of Angels imbued within the steel, conducted and enticed to sing, by Sam Maher's dancing hands and fingers.

For those who are interested, the Handpan played by Sam Maher in the video above is a Terrapan brand of Handpan, made by U.S. makers, TerraTonz.  And for comparison, below you can watch one of the first videos we ever stumbled across of Sam on Handpan, performing on an Innersound, in the middle of a Perth shoe-store, from back in 2013...

And catch his most recent video (at time of posting) below...

To get the latest from Sam Maher you can subscribe to his YouTube channel: HERE.  Or follow him at Facebook: HERE

When a Spacedrum, Isn’t a Spacedrum

With Handpan virtuoso Sam Maher’s New York subway video going crazy-viral at time of posting, as we often do, we’re seeing a number of people advising others via Facebook comments and the like, as to what the instrument in question actually is. With one answer popping up frequently being that the instrument that Sam is playing, is a “Spacedrum”.

The naming of these steel-UFO-shaped-instruments over the years has at times been a fairly confusing matter.  And a matter of significant contention.  Particularly with regards to the moniker “Hang drum”, which arguably still remains the most commonly used name for these instruments outside of the core-community that surround them.  Despite the protests of the original makers PANArt, that Hang, are not a "drum".

The more generic term “Handpan”, as coined by one of the earliest Hang-inspired makers, Pantheon Steel, is that most widely used by those more familiar with the instrument-type.  Though other names such as “Pantam”, and “Disco Armonico” also have their proponents.

Among those a little less familiar with the instrument type though, a new name is spreading fast, and that is the name of “Spacedrum”.  This almost certainly has much to do with the heartbeat-like regularity with which Yuki Koshimoto’s video (below) goes viral over at Facebook, and other Social-Media platforms (this remix is also very cool if you haven’t yet seen it).  But also quite possibly it has something to do with the UFO-shape of the Hang, and Handpan.  Making Spacedrum a relatively easy name to remember off-the-cuff...

What is a Spacedrum?

Spacedrum are a specific brand of Handpan, made in France.  And Yuki Koshimoto plays a 13-note chromatic Handpan made by these particular makers, who go by the name Metal Sounds.  So that while we actually quite like the name Spacedrum ourselves here at HPM - there is some danger in using it in a general sense.  If only to those considering a Handpan purchase, who could, if not careful, find themselves dropping cash on something that isn’t as it might seem (such as this Bali-made instrument being advertised as being a “Spacedrum” over at eBay at time of posting).

*...and if you were wondering what make of Handpan Sam Maher is playing in the video mentioned at the beginning of this post, it's actually an instrument made by U.S. makers, TerraTonz.

Making HandPan Shells - Building a Hydroforming Machine, with Colin Foulke

Arguably the biggest news item this week in Handpan-land, has been the generous offering made by Handpan-musician, turned Handpan-maker, Colin Foulke.  In the form of detailed information regarding, and detailed plans for constructing, your own “Hydroforming” machine (should that be something that you might be interested in building). For the purpose of conveniently producing self-made Handpan shells (the blank canvas from which Handpan are usually made).

The “How to make a Handpan” page - a loose grouping of videos and information we’ve collected together over the years remains one of this sites most popular reads. And while the process of hydroforming shells may have quietly been in use by other Handpan manufacturers for a while now - information of this detail, shared by Colin in the spirit of the early days of Hang, will be (and has been), gratefully-received.

Hydroforming is the process of using high-pressure-fluids to form metals such as steel, into a desired shape.  And not only is hydroforming widely considered to be a “cost-effective” mechanism for shaping metals - for the Handpan-maker using hammers, or even air-hammers to produce their shells, this is surely a production method that promises to be considerably less jarring.

Without further ado, and to put an end to us babbling on as if we know anything more about hydroforming than what we ripped off from Wikipedia above, and what you’ll glean for yourselves from the following video, here’s Colin Foulke himself, to tell you all about it…

To get to the meat-and-bones of the machine, including building instructions, and diagrams, plus a part-by-part Amazon-linked shopping list - detailing all you'll need to build your own Colin Foulke-style hydroforming machine.  You'll need to head over to Colin's website, where you'll find all of that, and more.  But before we direct you onwards, here's a final video shared from Colin Foulke's YouTube channel, that compares two different Handpan made by Colin himself, one hand-sunk, and the other hydroformed...

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